Tag Archives: Folk metal

Amorphis – Circle (2013)

Amorphis - Circle (2013)

Finnish band Amorphis started out as a death metal band, but turned to prog and folk metal forms in more recent years.

While the overall thrust is metal, I think that Circle has a very “European” sound, I am reminded of long curly blonde hair on bedenimed German metallers. Other times, rather curiously, I can imagine Amorphis being one of the outsider Eurovision acts (just listen to the vocals of Hopeless Days). The folk melodies aren’t overplayed and add a lot without being too cheesy, guitars often taking the melodies rather than the more traditional instrumentation. And cheesy is a good word to describe this album; just listen to the folky melody on Mission, or the flute intro to Narrow Path. It is a lot of fun, but I find it difficult to take it perhaps as seriously as Amorphis do.

There are certainly elements of both death and prog, such as the intro to Hopeless Days, or the organ solo in Nightbird’s Song.

Amorphis live up to the homonym of their name; they are somewhat amorphous and, as such, are able to turn to and fit into any shape they fancy, a bit of folk, a bit of prog, a bit of melodic death metal.

A great deal of fun overall.

Favorite tracks: The Wanderer, Narrow Path, Nightbird’s Song.

Spotify link: Amorphis – Circle
Sneak peak: 

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Finntroll – Blodsvept (2013)

Finntroll - Blodsvept (2013)

Finntroll are ostensibly a folk-metal band from Finland who formed in 1997 and have released five albums before this one.

Don’t expect any of the bleakness of Scandinavian black metal though. Instead, what we have is joyous  upbeat punky metal. In fact, with the horns which are used on a number of tracks, I am sometimes reminded of ska-punk, as unusual as that sounds. The folk influence comes thorough thick and fast, though, sometimes almost in a tongue-in-cheek way. I guess that could seem like a criticism, but it isn’t really. The ability to not take oneself too seriously is one I admire and I really enjoyed the album. It is great fun to listen to and I suspect it would be fantastic to dance to in a rowdy drunken bar!

När Jättar Marschera (“when giants march”) is a bouncy romp, with a really catchy melodic hook in the chorus; later on, the vocals are more sea-shanty in nature. Mordminnen (“memories of murder”) has the chuga-chuga guitar sound probably more associated with an act like Marilyn Manson than Scandinavian metal; again, the horns are uplifting and the track sounds more punky than metal. Rösets Kung (“king of the cairn”) has a great pirate-ship-esque call-and-response section (which reminded me somewhat of Pirate Jenny or Captain Bogg and Salty), and during the verse section of Skövlarens Död (“death of the waster“), I am reminded more of Tom Waits, his gravelly voice being more apparent than the erstwhile growl. Två Ormar (“two serpents”) also manages to remind me of Tom Waits as a more gypsy folk influenced track. The album closes with Midvinterdraken (“the midwinter dragon”), which begins almost as a tribute to Grieg (and regrettably also sounds a bit like the Inspector Gadget theme later on, which is what remains in my head when I finish listening to album).

Perhaps irreverent, but on the whole a great deal of fun. I feel it has more of a pop punk sound than metal, albeit with some blast beats and growly vocals. Overall, bawdy, rowdy, raucous, never taking itself seriously, though never parodying. I think a lot of different audiences could enjoy this; if you aren’t into metal, you might have to get over the vocals, but you will still likely have fun.

Favourite tracks: När Jättar Marschera, Rösets Kung, Två Ormar

Spotify link: Finntroll – Blodsvept
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